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With the release of Google’s Hummingbird came a great change in the world of SEO. Although many digital agents consider that the changes were to be expected, it has become quite difficult for businesses to promote themselves online. The SEO landscape is not the same as it was ten years ago, and this basically means that companies have to work harder, and invest more time and money in expanding their online credibility. The Hummingbird and Panda algorithms love high-quality, compelling content that truly adds value to the World Wide Web.
This means that content is one of the best ways to grow your online presence, not just because it appeals to search engines, but also because it helps potential clients perceive you as an expert in your field. Nevertheless, even if you’re the next Stephen King, chances are that your brilliant article will never be read because you haven’t promoted it properly. Therefore, you require a diversified content marketing spread, which includes guest-posting strategies, commenting, social media marketing and many more.
Also, because most companies are already promoting their content on social networks, blogs and other websites, you must also think of alternative publication channels in order to achieve maximum impact.
Maximum impact means more influence. More influence means more traffic, and traffic means conversions. In the world of internet marketing, conversions are the best indicator of success. It takes more than SEO to promote your business. Web marketers should focus on three main areas: social media, email marketing and search engine optimization. Let’s take a look at several content promotion strategies built around these areas.
Promotion cycles and feedback loops
Content promotion requires a lot of time and effort. It is a tedious and daunting task, but the good news is that once you’ve attracted a decent amount of followers, they will probably help you get more.
Whenever a visitor writes about you, and links back to your site, he is promoting your content, and improving your position on SERPs. Whenever a reader subscribes to your page, or follows you on a social networks, you gain more online influence. Now, let’s take a look at different content promotion strategies for the three major categories:
1. Content promotion for better SEO
Although keywords represented a lucrative method of improving SEO, the rule no longer applies. Since Hummingbird was released, the concept of conversational search changed the way that results appear on SERPs. The search engine can now analyze the semantic value of a keyword, and this means that short-tail keywords have lost their value. If you truly wish to make use of keywords, you should focus on long-tail keywords, or phrases that have the same meaning. There are three great ways of indicating your relevance to Google:
- Google Authorship: Google’s social media platform, Google+ has revolutionized the concept of content marketing. Who would have ever thought that a social network that was drowning in obscurity a couple of years ago would become the second largest network in the world?
This proves how important it is to become part of it. If you are a writer, there is a feature on Google+ that you should definitely take advantage of: claiming authorship. The Google Authorship Markup can be added to every post that you have written, and it will add rich snippets to it in Google result pages. Not only will it look better on SERPs, but all content attributed to your name will rank higher if it is appreciated/shared/liked etc. Another nifty feature of the Google Authorship is the fact that nobody can steal your content.
- Interlinking: Besides the obvious meta-tags, meta-descriptions etc. that an article should contain, you should also consider interlinking as a method of improving on-site SEO. Although page rank will soon become a thing of the past, interlinking is still an efficient method of improving not only SEO, but also navigability.
A reader might want to learn more about a particular subject, so relevant links are always welcome. Make sure that the link includes key phrases that you are targeting. You could also link your articles to higher authoritative websites for further information. (Always give reference to sources that you have used for an article).
- Guest-Posting: is not only an effective link-building strategy. An amazing guest-post made on an authoritative website will probably gain more likes/comments/shares. They will also give to the chance of interact with a new audience. If you write compelling content, people might become interested in your blog, and if not, you will still improve your domain authority → better ranking on SERPs.
2. Email marketing
Although I am not the biggest fan of email marketing, I cannot deny its power. By sending timely, targeted and relevant emails, to the right people, you will be able to promote your content better. You could either send a summary of your content with a link in the email (use the URL builder to add tracking code to the link). Make sure you send emails during peak hours, for maximum interest.
You could also send an “In case you missed it” follow-up email, or manual email (this might be time-consuming). Last but not least, make sure you have an email subscription box somewhere on the page.
3. Promote content on social media
Social networks are without a doubt the best places for promoting content, for the simple fact that they are very popular, and that people spend so much time on them. They also give readers a chance to connect with like-minded individuals, and engage in conversations. Here are a few content promotion strategies that work on social networks:
- Content promotion on Twitter: The rule of thumb is that no more than 20% of Tweets should be self-promotional. The rest of them should be funny, promoting other people’s content or conversations. Remember, sharing is caring, and if you expect other people to share your content you should be willing to return the favor. Another great thing would be to shorten the link, especially considering that you only have 140 characters available.
After you have tweeted your story, you should follow people that share your interests, because they will see your latest story and be more willing to follow you back. To find more people you could use social media tools, like Followerwonk, and mention them at the end of another tweet. For brilliant tweets, you must come up with catchy texts. For example, you could send a Mystery tweet, ask a rhetorical question, or simply extract a quote from your article. Last but not least, if the article becomes successful, you could follow-up with a tweet to thank people.
- If You are Promoting your content on Facebook, you should make sure that it is accompanied by a high-quality picture: You could also mention people who are in the article, and ask your friends to share/like the post to improve your EdgeRank. Google+ works similar to Facebook: you should post an article, and make sure that the image appears.
- There are other great social networks where you can promote your content like StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Digg, Redditt, Instagram etc.. You could also bookmark your content on different social bookmarking sites, or participate on Q7A sites like LinedIn Answers, Quora etc.
By doing all of these things on a regular basis, your content will definitely reach more people. The most important thing is to be persistent, and always look for alternative methods of promoting content online.
Image: JD Hancock via Flickr.